ONE of the four common marmoset monkeys at Charles Knie’s Parrot Cafe Garden.
ONE of the four common marmoset monkeys at Charles Knie’s Parrot Cafe Garden. BLAINEY WOODHAM

Circus man adds monkeys to cafe

THEY enjoy insects and tree sap in the rainforest, but the lure of Tweed’s famous banana farms was too tempting for a bunch of Brazilian monkeys to resist.

Parrot Garden Cafe owner and former circus animal trainer Charles Knie has added four common marmosets to his Crystal Creek attraction.

And he says the latest members of his menagerie have already built up an appetite for the local produce.

“They moved here because of all the bananas that are grown here,” the 62-year-old joked.

“Most of the food they eat is exotic fruits like mangoes. But they love the local bananas especially.”

The monkeys – aged six months to two years old – are all male, and three have been named Jimmy, Nadu and Nicky. The fourth is as yet unnamed.

Mr Knie said they were the first monkeys to live in the shire.

“They are very rare in the country,” he said.

“Not even Australia Zoo has these kinds of monkeys.”

The common marmosets have a mixed coat of brown, grey and yellow, with white ear tufts and a long, ringed tail.

They have claw-life nails which allow them to climb and to gouge holes in trees to eat sap.

In the wild they eat insects, flowers, lizards, small birds, tree frogs and fungi.

The average lifespan is approximately 17 years.

Parrot Garden Cafe’s four common marmosets were born in an animal park in Victoria before moving to Tweed.

The monkeys have only been calling Crystal Creek home for two weeks, but already Mr Knie is looking to add two more to the bunch.

He also has his eyes set on adding a group of kangaroos to his animal park.

“I want to keep it small though, so I can look after them myself,” Mr Knie said.

Mr Knie has a collection of other animals at his cafe garden including an Australian black cockatoo, eclectus parrot and a king parrot.

He also has a number of llamas, alpacas, donkeys, goats, sheep and rabbits.

Mr Knie grew up in the Swiss National Circus.

He established his own circus, the Charles Knie Circus, with wife, Doriana, in 1995.

Three years ago they sold the circus to settle in Australia.

The circus still travels in Germany.

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